The word was out. The Whataburger counter crew of 1950 served 35 cent hamburgers, 15 cent milkshakes and a gallon jug of root beer for 60 cents. [1], On April 11, 1967, Dobson and an associate died in an airplane crash, and Dobson's widow, Grace, took control of the business. He trademarked the name, "Whataburger," in June 1950. When finished, Number 24 was boasting 6,500 watts of lighting. Sixty six years ago today, Texas was blessed with the burger supreme when Whataburger served its first customer in 1950 in Corpus Christi. Here Tom Dobson is in 1993 when he became Whataburger CEO and president. Can you spot the A-frame with wings? This 1981 advertisement featured country singer Mel Tillis. Due to the success of selling Whataburger sauces at H-E-B since 2014, the company announced it will offer 1-pound packages of bacon at H-E-B and Central Market stores. [12] In 1983, the company added Breakfast on a Bun, the Whatachick'n sandwich and breakfast taquitos to its menu. S tep back in time when burgers were a quarter and the only Whataburger location was in Corpus Christi, Texas. He kicked off New Year's Day 1950 with a journal entry in which he prophesized a promising year ahead, according to TSHA. It also sells jars of its picante sauce and salsa verde, as well as boxed pancake mix. Months later, prices for burgers were raised to 35 cents. In those days, a burger cost less than a stamp. The first A-frame restaurant was built in Odessa, Texas, and is now a historical landmark. In 1953, Joe Andrews, Sr. became the first non-founder franchise owner with a location in Alice, Texas. "[3], On May 16, 2019 American City Business Journals reported that Whataburger confirmed it has hired Morgan Stanley for a possible sale of the company. [12], On May 6, 1999, the company opened "Whataburger by the Bay" on Shoreline Drive in Corpus Christi. The first Whataburger was served 66 years ago today in South Texas, Nicole Truly, McGarrah Jessee/Courtesy photo, Edward A. Ornelas/San Antonio Express-News, 40K rainbow trout coming to S.A. and New Braunfels fishing spots, S.A. The partnership ended a year after the business opened after a disagreement surrounding Dobson's decision to raise prices, according to the THSA site. Branch's first location preceded the first Texas Whataburger restaurant slightly;[citation needed] the move took place after a modernization project involving the traffic circle. [9] The site is scheduled to be demolished in 2019 and transformed into a "more modern" building.[10]. This 1967 sign is a precursor to the "Flying W." Harmon Dobson's love for aviation influenced the company's official logo. In 2001, during the 77th Texas Legislative Session, a bill was passed proclaiming Whataburger to be a Texas Treasure. Whataburger has 45,000 Family Members (employees) and more than 14 million customers who like to customize their Whataburgers just the way they like it. To the chagrin of some Corpus Christians, people often mistake this restaurant for the original one. Some pay a higher price. [24], After Hurricane Ike hit the Texas Coast in 2008, the company began considering moving its headquarters from Corpus Christi. Number 26 in Welasco, Texas during the day. [28] The Court of Appeals, in 2004, eventually decided the Texas Whataburger had a legitimate trademark; but the Virginia chain did not harm the much larger Texas-based chain in any way or any reasonable public confusion: "There is no evidence — nor can we imagine any — that consumers are currently likely to be confused about whether the burgers served by Virginia W-A-B come from Texas or Virginia. "[17] By the end of the year, it had 728 stores operating in ten states. [22][23], Previously the corporate headquarters were in Corpus Christi. The Whataburger sign in front of Unit 9 in Corpus Christi, circa 1953. [21], In 2009 the company moved from its long time base in Corpus Christi to a new headquarters at 300 Concord Plaza Drive, a 140,000-square-foot (13,000 m2) building in San Antonio. Whataburger first announced its intentions to expand to Kansas City, as well as in Tennessee, back on July 1. [12] Inspired by his love for flying, Dobson designed the orange and white striped A-frame store in Odessa, Texas, in 1961. Amazon has the lowest price on AirPods for Cyber Monday, Bags under $150 during Coach's Cyber Weekend sale, Get cozy with 20% off at Parachute for Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday deals start way before Monday. [27], Whataburger is sometimes confused with the What-A-Burger (hyphenated) chain of family-operated restaurants in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In August of that year they opened their first location on Ayers Street in Corpus Christi, Texas, across from Del Mar College. In 1965, it estimated selling 15,000 burgers daily in the Texas Coastal Bend area. "Four days later they took $141.80 and sold 551 burgers. The company also has a breakfast menu. In 2004, local baseball fans celebrated the opening of Whataburger Field, home to the Corpus Christi Hooks. [3], In October 2011, the company changed its television ads from Bassett's voiceovers to "documentary-style ads employees and customers using their own words to describe what makes Whataburger special. Working the grill and fryers in non-wrinkle polyester was one hot job. Family-owned by the Dobsons until 2019,[5] the chain is now managed by a venture capital company along with the Dobson family still holding a small stake. [15], In 2003, it hired Austin-based advertising firm McGarrah Jessee,[16] which created an advertising campaign featuring the gravelly voice of Ohio actor William Bassett. The business partners did their homework and decided on methods that are still implemented in more than 790 restaurants decades later: 100% beef, fresh veggies and cooked "just like you like it.". 1960s: From 1961 to 1976, Whataburger built approximately 80 of theses distinct A-frame stores. Wildfire smoke is poisoning California's kids. Its design is considered the bridge between the old box store and the A-frame (circa 1960s). Ed Nelson, currently serving as chief financial officer and controller, was promoted to president. Whataburger is reportedly planning to expand to Tennessee. "This, I believe, will turn out to be a very profitable investment.". Courtesy photo Show More Show Less 22 of 51 An original Harmon Dobson … "His goal was simple: Make a better burger that took two hands to hold and tasted so good that when you took a bite you would say 'What a burger," according to TSHA. Whataburger uses 100% pure American beef served on a big, toasted five-inch … She passed away in 2005. In this picture from 1960, Tom Dobson is the kid slurping a shake in front of an old box-styled store in Clearwater, Florida. RELATED: Welcome to 'Weroburger,' Mexico's knock-off version of Whataburger. A Whataburger facility, complete with familiar a-frame design and the company logo, appeared routinely in the popular animated TV series King of the Hill. Tom Dobson for Whataburger, along with leaders from Southwest Business Corp. and HEB, were among the 2013 inductees in the Texas Business Hall of Fame. The menu expanded, offering Whatameal packages, cookies and biscuits, and chicken strips. On August 8, 2000, Whataburger celebrated its 50th anniversary with 575 operating stores. Circa 1962: Whataburger’s first iconic A-frame stood at three times the height of the other burger stands. Newport News Circle was a busy intersection located at Jefferson Avenue and U.S. Route 258 governed by a traffic circle (aka "rotary") in the former Warwick County. [12] In 1987, it opened its 400th store,[12] and also shut down operations in California. A few months later in May, he financed a man named Paul Burton for a "small, specialized" Texas hamburger spot. While it is the flagship store, it did not open until 1999. "[29], A second restaurant chain based in North Carolina, named What-A-Burger Drive-In, owned by Eb and Michael Bost, was not a party to the lawsuit, but under case law procedures, it would also retain its name. In 1971, the company opened its first drive-through store, and in 1972, it opened its 100th store. [citation needed] What-A-Burger and Whataburger were unaware of each other's existence several states apart until around 1970, when there was some correspondence. 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